Editorial: Slow down on the big decisionsWoah, slow down. Stark County leaders, businesses, emergency services and even those who pushed for a recent annexation seem to know there are problems with it, yet the Dickinson City Commission gave the “OK” to bring 325 acres north of the city into town during an October meeting.
Woah, slow down.
Stark County leaders, businesses, emergency services and even those who pushed for a recent annexation seem to know there are problems with it, yet the Dickinson City Commission gave the “OK” to bring 325 acres north of the city into town during an October meeting.
City Administrator Shawn Kessel admitted during a recent Stark County Commission meeting that the city could have been a better neighbor by talking to the county about its plans to take the land into its possession before doing so. We agree.
The city didn’t contact businesses in the annexation area via certified mail, so some business owners didn’t know about the proposal because the memo went to the landowners which the business was leasing from. They made an effort to personally notify businesses but didn’t get to them all, some owners said. Though the city was not legally required to send the certified letters, it would have been neighborly. Fortunately, those business owners heard from others.
A number of business owners approached the city to share their discontent, but it still went through. With the decision, businesses will have to pay for infrastructure improvements such as sewers and streets.
In a rapidly growing community, this is a prime example of moving too quickly and it could come back to bite the city.
The city’s method of communicating was less than stellar. And just how much business owners will be paying for infrastructure and other possible extras has not been disclosed.
On top of that, the Dickinson Rural Fire Department is losing $4,400 which is considerable for a small department, though Kessel said the city “intends” to reimburse them.
There are no hydrants in place and the city is negotiating with Dickinson Rural now to continue serving the area but that is something that should have been done before.
Rural will have 325 acres less to protect when the city absorbs the land but it will still have to manipulate its budget.
The Dickinson Fire Department, will take over services. This may also be a challenge for a department which has been experiencing an increase in calls.
The administrator said the city hasn’t done an annexation in decades “so I’m not saying we did it well.”
We are pleased Kessel approached the county to admit the city could have done a better job and he said more consideration will be made in the future. Let’s hope so.
Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Jennifer McBride make up The Dickinson Press Editorial Board. E-mail Brock athbrock@the dickinsonpress.com or McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org.